I visit STFU, Parents* daily and love to join in on the snark in the comments. (Before you click that link, be forewarned - if you are easily offended as a parent DON'T CLICK THAT LINK! If you don't like to see pictures of or read about poop, barf, placentas and the miracle of birth, DON'T CLICK THAT LINK.) While many of the commentators there have children, I would wager a guess that the majority don't. Those who don't have kids often make a comment along the lines of "Why would anyone want a kid?!?" I can't say that I blame them at all. If all I was ever exposed to regarding babies was what was posted there, I may have had those same thoughts myself. I would like to take this opportunity to tell those childless people about some of the benefits of having kids. No, this isn't going to be one of those "fresh out of the bath baby smells" kind of lists. I mean, sure, there are those but they aren't real for people who have no kids. You just don't appreciate those thing until you become a mom (or dad). Here are ten real reasons to have kids, in no particular order.
6 - Early boarding and exiting a plane
You can travel with kids. It's not as easy as doing it without kids, but it can be done and it can be done well and as you are called to the plane for early boarding you get to walk past others who will be sitting there waiting for another fifteen or twenty minutes. See that couple with no kids who are going to spend a week in a tropical paradise sipping margaritas on the beach? You may be spending your time on the beach building sandcastles and may only go waist deep in the water, but you get to board before them. And then you land and you get to leave the plane several minutes before them, making your vacation start before theirs. When the vacation is over and everyone is just ready to go home, you will again be the first on and off that plane. It may not be a big deal to some but early boarding makes me feel like royalty.
4 - Halloween candy
There comes a point in everyone's life when they are officially too old to go out trick or treating. Then we move out of our parents house and buy our own bag of candy to hand out to the kids who show up at our door on Halloween, but we miss out on the variety and the sheer amount of candy that the kids get. Once you have your own kids, the free candy is back! I am currently typing this on a three day sugar high. And the more kids you have, the more free candy! I have four kids so that was four bags of candy that came in this house this Halloween. Don't let anyone try and tell you that the candy is just for the kids, either. It all goes into one communal bowl and it's open candy season. Sugar high, get ready for day four!
9 - McDonald's
I can't eat McDonald's much since my gallbladder surgery five years ago and there's the whole obesity links to processed and fast foods issue too. But, I have been knows to go both before and after I had kids. When I went in and tried to order a kid's meal (with cookies instead of a toy) before I had kids, I wasn't allowed to. But with my kids, I can order as many kids meals as I want and no one will question it. I now happily eat my cheeseburger happy meal and McDonald Land cookies. (The first time I was turned down for a happy meal, I asked for a manager and still, no go. I was 17 at the time and was told I had to order each item separately.) There's also McDonald's play land. You see, the equipment is for children age two to twelve and their parents. So, I like to get my kids their food, have them sit at the table while I take a few trips down the slide. And if there are small kids I plough through on the way down, total bonus!
3 - You will own them at Scrabble (and other board games)
One day, my kids may be smarter than I am but until then, I totally own their asses at Scrabble. I am one of the world's worst spellers (spell check FTW!) and I feel oh so smart beating the crap out of their Scrabble score. I do help them when they ask me to. Not as much as I probably could and one day they will beat me at Scrabble and their victory will be all the more sweeter because of it. Same with Monopoly. Hey, if they don't pay attention when I land on a property they own, why on earth would I freely give out that piece of information? Winning is just as sweet when it's an eight year old you are beating. Some day, my kids will all own my ass at any number of board games but not without a fight. Until that day, I get to reign supreme as Queen of the Board Games. Bask in the glow of my presence!
10 - You will win belching contests
Perhaps this one isn't such a big deal with the dads, but for me it's a big thing. Whenever "the guys" have a belching contest, I can never compete. But I can out belch my kids.
1 - You get a video game partner
This one has two benefits, really. The first one is that you will win until they get above your level of skill. For me, it has been ten years and counting. The second one is that, even when they are below your skill level, you will have a co-op partner. Then when they reach or even surpass your skill level, you will have a great co-op partner. Flank the guy, sneak around behind that alien, I'll hold aggro you get in behind all these guys. For the times when you just can't find someone your age to play video games with, kids will always be there for you!
8 - There are numerous things you can blame on your kids
That funky smell, why your house is a mess, the chips ground into the family room carpet, why you haven't raked your lawn yet - these are all things you can blame on your kids. It's really handy when you're out shopping and you just ate a burrito for lunch.
7 - You can buy "kid" food without being questioned
I love Poptarts. Love, love, love 'em. We don't have them in the house very often (I am a bit of a freak when it comes to processed foods) but I don't have to answer the "why do you have Poptarts" question when I do. Before kids, it was something I had to answer for. If I want to buy large quantites of chocolate milk, no one bats an eye. If there is a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch in my pantry, no one second guesses me for it. If someone happens apon a half eaten tub of chocolate chip cookie dough in my house, I just tell them I bought it for the kids. I do share these things with my kids, of course. It's only fair since they are the excuse that I use.
4 - Kids are a built in excuse to get out of almost anything
"You're inviting me to a gathering to see your slide shows of the Alaskan cruise you took? What day? Oh, shucks! That's the day of Madeleine's gym meet!" (Does anyone use slides anymore?) You can get out in advance or at last minute with a "sick kid" if you just don't feel like going when the time arrives. Sure, you can say you're sick but... you don't sound sick. Or you can say your husband is sick but... then why don't you leave him at home and come by yourself. Somehow people will try to talk you in to rearranging your plans (visiting your dying grandmother? eh, just go tomorrow) to fit theirs but would never ask you to miss your kid's gym meet or leave a sick kid at home.
2 - You get to warp their minds
Yes, you read that right. You see, children are a blank canvas when they are born and you have a choice to make. You can teach them to sing "Row Row Row Your Boat" or you can teach them The Imperial March. You can take them shopping at Wal-Mart every Saturday or you can tell them that Wal-Mart is evil and everyone who enters never leaves quite the same. You can sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" before bed or you can sing "Video Killed the Radio Star". You can play I Spy while standing waiting for the bus or you can discuss the best plan of action should the zombie uprising happen right then. The choice is yours. However, this benefit may be short lived. Once the kids reach about nine and ten, they get a mind of their own and will use it. If you have done your job right, though, the affects of your warping will linger and be evident as they conform more to societal norms. Currently, Lilly refuses to read Twighlight because "Vampires don't sparkle! They burn into a big pile of black ashes in the sun!" I feel my mind warping on her will be long lasting, we'll see about the others in a few years.
See, parenthood isn't all runny poop, baby barf and pee puddles in the middle of the store. There's so much more to it than that!
*I really love that place. When I got the news that Kevin's surgery was cancelled, it was the second place on the internet I went. I needed to laugh and STFU, Parents didn't let me down! But, I am finding now that it's catching on, more and more parents are posting. I have a rule there that if it's a "meh, I don't see the big deal with this one" post, I don't post a comment defending or saying it's not a big deal. That's not what STFU, Parents is for. It's there for the snark and I will read the snark and enjoy the snark even if it's really no big deal. I have also used it as a place to ask what childless people would think of if I took Lilly to an all ages concert in a bar (but that was after my snarky comment - must have the snark). STFU, Parents is not for us to defend anything whether we see it as a big deal or not. It's not there for debating purposes. It's there for its snarky goodness.
Picture time! Here they are at Halloween. Lilly is obsessed with all things Chinese right now and so is dressed in a "Chinese dress". I think it may actually be more of a Kimono but she was happy. Madeleine is... Madeline! Victoria is a chocolate chip cookie. And Rosemary is Belle. I tried, I really really tried. But depsite my best efforts, the one who looks most like me is a princess. However, the one who acts most like me is a chocolate chip cookie so that's something, I guess.
Lilly, Madeleine and Victoria have their costumes picked out for next year already. Lilly will be Miss America, 1910 (yes, a zombie Miss America). Madeleine will be a Beatle Beetle. And we are trying to talk Victoria into being a Monkee Monkey (her and I are big Monkees fans. So is Rosemary. I should record Rosemary and Victoria singing She Hangs Out. It's their favourite Monkee song.